Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Sad it's not ski season? Try water-skiing!

Just because there’s warm weather doesn’t mean you can’t ski… well you may have to make some adjustments. The biggest difference is the kind of skiing I’m talking about – it’s on the water. Water skiing has some similarities to the snowsport we all know and love. It doesn’t mean everyone can jump right up on the water skis and be a pro from the start, but the learning curve should be better than it is for a non-skiier.

Instead of skiing on hills covered with snow, you are skimming over a body of water with your ski. And rather than speeding downhill using your momentum, you are on a relatively flat surface (not perfectly flat but as compared to a ski slope) and pulled by a boat.

The origin of this sport goes back to 1922. Ralph Samuelson thought that if you can ski on snow, you could also ski on water. So he and his brother worked on that idea and in early July of that year Samuelson was able to stand up on two skis while being pulled by a boat his brother was driving.

Just like in skiing, a water skier should also have strong upper and lower body strength, endurance, and good balance. Similarly, both sports also involve edge control which requires similar hip movements and compression of the lower body.

Over the years water skiing has also introduced the use of new equipment that’s similar to ski and snowboard gear. For instance, hardshell boots and bindings have been brought to water skis to allow for increased control over the board, prevent ankle injuries and keep feet in place.

There are also different kinds of water skiing to choose from. “Combination pairs” are the most common and easiest for beginners to learn. Moreover, you can also choose “slalom skis” if you want to ride on just one ski (similar to snowboarder). It is also good for making sharp turns. When first learning the slalom skis, boards typically have wider tails and flatter bottoms to make it easier to get up and stay straight. The third type is called “trick skis”. They are used for jumping, spinning, and doing various tricks. Trick skis are short, wide and do not have fins for easier turns and slides. “Jump skis” are long and light and allow you to jump on ramps and across long distances.

But before skimming on the water, you should learn some hand signals to communicate with the people in the boat. A thumbs down means you want to slow down, while a thumbs up means you want some boost. In case a skier falls, a red flag will be held up in the boat to warn others to stay clear until the skier and rope are recovered.

Don’t let the heat put a damper on your love for skiing and try this summer alternative until it's time for you ski vacation! Water skiing will surely quench your thirst for a summer skiing adventure.

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